02 July 2009


Week-end (with title)
When I was in medical school there was this little-known (HAH) release by R. Kelly during his strange phase called "Ignition (Remix)". There's a line that goes, "It's the freakin weekend baby, I'm about to have me some fun," which I really loved because it's easy to feel fried by the end of the week as a student. During my later years it was even more precious to have a free weekend because clinical duties have little concern with what day it is, except those who don't have overnight duty can go home at noon. Big whoop, right? (By the way, I call it R. Kelly's strange phase because prior to that he was primarily known for his ballads. Anyone remember "I'm Your Angel" with Celine Dion?)

I'm sure my friends thought it was pretty strange of me to be rejoicing over the weekend, because I was one of the uncommon types who, instead of staying behind and hanging out with friends, I packed my bags (and dirty laundry of course) and headed home with my family every weekend I had a chance. I bet they were wondering if I had any actual youth-y fun.
Week-end (close)
Okay, so it doesn't sound that exciting and I would seem like the kind of person for which weekends are a waste, but there's just something about being able to lie down in your bed at home (and sleep the afternoon away if you must), not worry about having to prepare your own meals, and go shopping or to Mass with my family. YAWN! Well, I like the simple things.

I do have some friends who strangely took it upon themselves to show me what it means to have a good time ("Try this [drink], it's good!"), and I know they meant well, but I wasn't so concerned about fun as I was about relaxing. Partying and such is just a little too much effort. Too stressful. Dressing up, trying to impress people, talking over loud music, having to reject drink after drink (failing maybe once a night, heh), when all I want is to not be so wound up.

So, what do you do (or rather be doing) on your weekends? :)

P.S. I knew I was in love with the English when the nice man from some transportation service in London told me to "have a nice wee-KEND." I've always tried to say it like that ever since.

This is a simple French poundcake-style cake with a light, lemony flavor and a slight hint of rum. I love the way it uses the bottom as the top, so it has a beautiful surface which can be very reflective if done right. According to The Art of the Cake, "it originated in the thirties probably to celebrate the introduction of the five-day workweek with a weekend holiday (semaine anglaise)."

Week-End adapted from The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat
Since I didn't have crème fraîche, I used sour cream with no apparent loss in quality. In the book the bottom edge is covered with a band of chopped almonds 1/2 inch high, and the top-center scattered with chopped pistachios.

  • 85g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

  • 225g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) sugar

  • zest of 3 lemons

  • 3 large eggs at room temperature

  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature

  • 120g (1/2 cup) crème fraîche or sour cream

  • 140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 30g (2-1/2 tablespoons) cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 45g (3 tablespoons) dark Jamaican or Haitian rum

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Prepare a loaf pan with at least 1.5L (6-cup) capacity (10 x 4 x 2.5" or 9 x 5 x 2.5" works) by spraying with baking spray, lining with parchment cut to fit the bottom and sides exactly, and the parchment sprayed again. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together till the sugar turns pale yellow. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, then add 100g (1/2 cup) of the sugar and continue beating until very pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in the remaining lemon sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until it appears homogeneous. Beat in the crème fraîche or sour cream. Sift the flour onto the batter in 3 additions, folding well after each. When well-incorporated, sprinkle the rum on top and fold gently. Pour into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake until the cake begins to shrink from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-70 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold and turn right-side-up on a rack and cool completely. Peel the parchment away from the sides and cut the top off with a bread knife so it is flat. Cut a cake board to almost fit this area, but smaller by 1/4" on both dimensions, and place it on top. Turn the cake upside-down on a wire rack and remove the parchment completely.

  • 100g (5 tablespoons) strained apricot jam, melted

  • 50g (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) confectioner's sugar, sifted

  • 2 teaspoons dark Jamaican or Haitian rum

(To make the strained apricot jam, heat apricot jam over low heat until melted, then force it using a pestle or rubber spatula through a fine sieve, discarding the tough, fibrous pieces.) Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F). Brush the top and sides of the cake with the apricot jam completely. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar and rum, then add as much cold water (in 1/2-teaspoon increments) until it forms a smooth paste just fluid enough to spread easily with a pastry brush. Brush the top and sides of the cake completely. Place the cake with the board onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the glaze is translucent (if the glaze starts to bubble around the edges, remove the cake from the oven). Slide it back onto the wire rack and let cool completely.

The cake can be kept at room temperature for 4 days uncovered (it won't dry out because of the glaze). Keep it in the refrigerator on a hot day, but let it come to room temperature before serving.
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